Whittier College revives traditional Senior Convocation ceremony

April 17, 2024

For the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic, Whittier is bringing back a beloved student Commencement tradition.

Whittier College’s Light of Learning ceremony comes full circle with the Senior Convocation. | Whittier CollegeSenior Convocation — previously called Baccalaureate — is an opportunity for graduates, faculty, and families to gather to express gratitude for each other and for their Whittier College experience. 

The event serves as a bookend to the President's New Student Convocation, which includes the Light of Learning ceremony students attend at the beginning of their collegiate careers. Senior Convocation will take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at Harris Amphitheater — the same venue as the Class of 2024’s Light of Learning — and students will again light candles to symbolize the transfer of knowledge.

“The students give back the light to the faculty this time, passing it down as a ‘thank you’ for their educational experience here at Whittier,” said Frances Romo, Whittier College’s new student programs coordinator. “It is very visually stunning.”

The event will include music as well as speeches by Interim President Kristine Dillon ’73 and graduating seniors Fernando Ramirez ’24 and Aislinn Burley ’24. Ramirez, a biology major, plans to get a master’s degree in public health and become a physician, while English major Burley intends to pursue a role in the independent publishing industry.

Another visual component is the “Then and Now” slideshow, which captures the transformation of the students from childhood to adulthood. Students and families are encouraged to send the College one picture of the graduate during their younger years alongside one recent photo. The deadline for submission is April 27.

“Students really appreciate the intimacy and warmth that this event provides,” said Dean of Academic Success Gil Gonzalez.

For more information, contact Frances Romo at the Dean of Students Office at fromo@whittier.edu or 562-907-4233.

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